Wednesday, 29 June 2016

Our Man In London.

"I'm calling about Corbyn. Need any help?"
PICTURE HIM. He’s in his late 40s, tall, greying hair elegantly styled. His suit is Italian bespoke, from the immigrant tailor with the studio just around the corner from his favourite pub. His basic salary is safely into six figures (Sterling) and his bonus this year was spectacular. What does he do? Basically, he answers questions about the future. Where is the market going? Where will oil be in six months’ time? What’s happening to gold? Who’s putting what where? Which commodities are trending up? What’s going down? It’s not his money, of course, but even so, he’s got to be right at least as often as he’s wrong. Fortunately, he wears the pressure every bit as stylishly as he wears his Italian suit.
Not that he’s one of those Old Etonian, Oxbridge toffs like David Cameron or Boris Johnson. No, no. He received his secondary education at the local grammar school and graduated from a respectable red-brick university. Displaying a rare aptitude for student politics, he was swiftly taken up by the leading lights of the University Labour Club. A vacation job in the office of his local Labour MP led him into even higher-powered political circles. Upon graduation a job was waiting for him at Westminster. His boss was only a junior minister outside Cabinet – but widely regarded as a rising star. Our boy rose with him.
He met his wife in the lobby of the House of Commons. She was working for a Tory shadow minister of roughly equal rank to his own. Their backgrounds were remarkably similar – apart from the fact that, in her case, it was the University Conservative Club that had spotted her political talents. “Just think,” she teased, “if Labour had been quicker off the mark we might have been colleagues!” They were married on the country estate of her boss. “Marquees everywhere and Krug by the case! Not bad for a grammar school boy!”
The installation of the Conservative Lib-Dem coalition government in 2010 saw him snapped-up by a major financial institution in the City. His networks were impressive and his understanding of the UK economy even more so. What his new employers most admired about him was the ease with which he carried his many and varied talents. On neither shoulder were there any discernible chips. Gregarious, good-natured, and the proud possessor of one of the finest hip-hop collections in London, even the toffs liked him.
If he really was as good as everyone (including himself) thought he was, however, he should have spotted the enormous risk Cameron was taking when, in 2013, he promised an In/Out binding referendum on EU membership. His wife’s parents had friends who were members of UKIP, and they were worried. “David doesn’t really have a very good grasp of the provincial middle-class mind”, they vouchsafed to their son-in-law. “We don’t think he understands the degree to which he’s putting his future into the hands of the English working-class.”
He saw the irony, of course, but 2013 was back in the BC – Before Corbyn – era. “Labour is rock-solid for the EU,” he reassured his wife. “Cameron’s as safe as houses.”
Corbyn was the game-changer. None of our man’s friends in the party saw the old bugger coming. With his beard and his bicycle – and his penchant for defying the Whip – Corbyn was regarded as a rather poor 1980s joke. Like the Scottish National Party, he was not to be taken seriously.
Until he won.
Our man simply could not fathom how Corbyn, like the SNP, had been able to shake Labour to its very foundations. Neither of them grasped the impossibility of their dreams. The old fool and his followers didn’t seem to understand that the world had moved beyond the restorative policies of an ageing Trotskyist from Islington. Like Scotland, he just didn’t have the right sort of resources, or the right sort of friends.
Then along came Cameron’s bloody referendum. Suddenly, it was no longer enough to have the right sort of resources and the right sort of friends. Unaccountably, they no longer seemed to work.
His wife’s people reported that the shires were in open revolt. The dragon’s teeth that, year after year, UKIP had sown among the fields and hedgerows of “Little England” had grown into a veritable Game of Thrones collection of unstoppable fire-breathers. And who was that, sitting astride one of their scaly necks, looking for all the world like Daenerys, Mother of Dragons? Bloody Boris Johnson – that’s who!
Which meant that it was now up to Labour to save the day. Meaning it was up to Corbyn to save the day. Apparently, he knew how to talk to working people. He’d persuade them to get out and vote for “Remain”.
Our man’s wife was sceptical. “Corbyn’s a Londoner, darling, and I’m not sure a Londoner is the right sort of person to persuade your party’s ‘Friends in the North’. Indeed, I’m not sure that Labour any longer has anyone who can speak to the working-class of this country about the things that matter to them.”
Our man wasn’t convinced. Weren’t the polls shifting back towards ‘Remain’? Hadn’t the tragic assassination of Jo Cox reminded the working-class who their real friends were? When his bosses asked him which way the electorate was going to jump, he gave them his most winning smile, and told them not to worry. At the end of the day, the people would know what was good for them.
That advice cost his employers a great deal of money. There’d be no bonus this year to pay for the boys school fees. Never mind, there was always politics. Labour was in dire need of some sound advice. He reached for his cell-phone and scrolled through his contacts until he found the number.
The accent at the other end was pure Oxbridge: “Good Lord, old chap, how long has it been? To what do I owe the pleasure?”
“I’m calling about Corbyn. Need any help?”
This essay was originally posted on The Daily Blog of Tuesday, 28 June 2016.


Anonymous said...

Jeremy Corbyn did not come down in the last shower. He has known since he was elected by rank and file membership that he would have to face a insurrection by the neo-lib's and fence sitter careerists within his caucus.
His campaign for the 'remain' status was lacklustre and I have a sneak feeling that he was happy for the brexit win.
He well knew the consequences of brexit and he will challenge for and most likely win the leadership again. If he does win the insurrectionist's will recant and state their undying loyalty to him and the party.
He will lead Labour at the next election and if he loses he will honourably resign.

The old dart is turning on some first-class political theatre and brexit is the star, not the role-models for your excellent article, they are both waiting for a Mr Hitler to appear.

Anthon said...

That is all.

Sanctuary said...

Fact mirrors the fictional account.

Anonymous said...

Jeremy Corbyn describes Farage's 'racist' poster and killing of Jo Cox as 'turning points'

Corbyn is out of touch also. Unless you believe the English working classes are happy with a foreign invasion in exchange for *diversity*.

peteswriteplace said...

The UK wants to control its own destiny and who comes through its borders. Can you blame them?

Andrew Nichols said...

Classic stuff. Shows how far the Labour Party has departed from what it once stood for - and why it's been in decline. Yuppie toffs took it over under Bliar, turned it into yet another pale version of a Tory Party and wont go without a fight. Sanders (until he capitulated and said he'd support war criminal Clinton) like Corbyn (ironic given both are so old) are the future of a fair and decent society. It's a fight to the death. Go Corbyn.

jh said...

No one had the right to believe that this couldn’t happen. No one should believe that it will be confined to Britain. No one should believe that it won’t happen again. The days when the elite could assert that the EU is going to be just fine in the face of evidence to the contrary are over.
George Friedman
JESSICA Are we growing as fast as we should?

PAUL No, we're not, but then all countries in the Western world are in decline, and we are what's called premature ageing. So not only are we getting a lot more older people - that's in size - but as a proportion of the population they're growing because, of course, we're seeing quite a few young people leave the country.

JESSICA – Let’s talk a little bit about that population spread. Why are so many people moving to Auckland?

PAUL – Well, Auckland – there’s an agglomeration effect, so the bigger Auckland becomes, the more attractive it becomes. It becomes more attractive economically, but it also becomes more attractive as a place to live. And so we’re seeing the sort of perimeters of New Zealand, the regions, beginning to flat-line, so they’re not growing, and we’re now beginning to see the first of regions beginning to decline.


30% of new homes failing building inspection, people living in cars, houses through the roof, decline in GDP per capita (relative to that of the rest of the country)....

However migrants get to vote too.

Anonymous said...

Farage skilfully plays on classic working class fears and resentments.

Labour (read Corbyn) lacks that finesse.

Anonymous said...

About 20 years ago I was working in the store for a large importing firm in Sydney.

In the smoko room one morning the talk turned to immigration.

One character said forcefully: 'We don't want immigrants; they'll take our jobs!'

And that was straight from the mouth of the son of Greek immigrants who turned up in Australia 30 odd years earlier without speaking a word of English.

Charles Pigden said...

Well Chris, you may be interested to know that despite my slight Oxbridge accent, I remembered that I am an Englishman, (not for much longer, I suspect, a Brit) and joined the British Labour party so that i could vote for Corbyn in the upcoming leadership contest. It cost me about a hundred and twenty dollars but it was worth it.

cricket? said...

I being a die hard Labourite will never accept any validation from the right in politics as most of them appear to be patronising self serving and quite adept at sending the masses to the wall or war in order to preserve their upper class suckupman ship of graft and favour from the monarchy or who ever is next up the ladder from them which we also have here in the form of Key and co
As I see it the sooner Key is gone and he declares his true country which is probably either the USA or his pommy homeland because he certainly has no history of worth anything in this country and not to be to light on the fact that Key will probably lay weight to the tory position in Britain with a raft of measures to help their cause to reinstate what has made him what he is at great cost to the masses in NZ
Its the breakdown of a 30 to 40 year structure of a globalised corporate ruling class that is getting what it deserves the democratic boot